When I made my vision board for 2020, rest assured ‘global pandemic’ wasn’t one of the things I put on there!!
Here we are – 10 months into the year and 8 months living in some form of lockdown; it’s fair to say that this year has without a doubt been one of the most challenging for a majority of people’s mental health.
And I’m not just talking about the low’s, I’m talking about the ability to think straight, how we deal with difficult times, and also how we go about our daily lives when you’re continuously being force-fed a narrative that doing anything except what ‘they’ tell you, will result in you, or someone else, getting sick and then dying.
It’s a lot for anyone to deal with and it’s meant that for a lot of us, day to day existence has become quite challenging.
Trying to establish ways to regain our control is now essential because let’s be honest, who knows when this may end. We refer to it as a 2020 problem but rest assured, when the clock strikes midnight on December 31st, this isn’t all going to disappear. I wish it would trust me, but the likelihood is, whether it’s the virus or it’s repercussions, there’s still more to overcome.
The other thing is, and one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned during this time, is that nothing is certain anymore. The rug can be pulled from underneath us at the drop of a hat. So learning to be more agile and resilient, will be one of the best tools you can have in your kit.
Over the last few weeks, I’ve been really looking at how I can adapt to the current situation and how I can make my life as ‘normal’ and functional as possible given the circumstances.
So here are some of the ways I’ve adapted my lifestyle and switched my mindset to feel more in control of my life as I currently know it.
Dropping the Struggle!
I am the absolute QUEEN of making my life feel more difficult than it actually is! I overwhelm myself with these internal tales of just how hard done by I am and how there is just so much going wrong that I start to believe my own hype. Now don’t get me wrong, I’ve had, and continue to have, my fair share of struggles, but when I look at the actual problems, they’re usually not as bad as the voices in my head keep telling me they are!
Georgie Stevenson recently hosted an amazing podcast about this and it’s something I’ve heard her speak about before but this time, it really connected with me. Because now more than ever, I’ve been super guilty of this.
Sometimes we feel like unless we’re struggling through certain situations, they can’t be justified however if the outcome were to be the same, whether we struggle through a situation or if we approached it with ease and logic, wouldn’t the latter be more beneficial?
So that’s what I’ve been doing lately. Looking at the things I’m going through and seeing them for what they really are. Then using a more rational approach to take action.
It’s incredible how much lighter I feel now that I’ve stopped insisting to myself things are more difficult than they actually are!
For someone who is such an advocate for mindset and personal development work, I’ve never been much of a journaler! I couldn’t get my head around it and it just didn’t come particularly naturally to me; I never felt I was getting much out of it.
But recently, I’ve just had an urge to write things down, and it’s helped me in so many ways over the last few months.
Sometimes I write lists. Sometimes I write down the things that are bothering me and then I ‘answer’ each issue with how it can be resolved. Other times I just write whatever’s on my mind. I find that getting things out of my head and on to paper can just make space for me to call out my own bullshit (if required) or see things for what they truly are.
It can also help provide me with clarity because when I write without intention and just let the words flow, sometimes I have lightbulb moments I may never have come across without the action of writing.
For me, journaling isn’t a formal, rigid task. It’s something I pick up when I need it. When it feels natural, authentic, and beneficial. And I journal in a way that suits the results I’m looking to achieve.
Embracing pockets of normality
I got caught up in the whole ‘lockdown mentality’. For weeks I barely left the flat; I pined for my life before March and I felt like this was it. I’d got bored with just existing and felt like I was living in Groundhog Day. I think that was when I hit my lowest point.
People would reach out to me and be like ‘What have you been up to?’ and I started to find it really triggering because I was like ‘I’ve been up to NOTHING’! Literally, my life became a vicious circle of working from my dining table, going to the gym (sometimes), and spending way too much of the little bit of money I did have in Sainsbury’s; primarily on wine and prosecco!
That was it! Nothing else to report!
I wasn’t seeing people, I wasn’t going anywhere, I literally felt like I was just existing in my own little bubble of negativity and stress.
So I decided I needed to do something about it. And I chose to look at what I could do rather than what I couldn’t.
I started to reach out to friends to make plans. Got out and changed my scenery. I took myself out for lunch and just people watched. All of a sudden, things stopped feeling so bleak!
A massive thing I was struggling with was the lack of IRL interactions I was having, and so I made a conscious effort to ditch the zoom calls and facetime, and replace them with genuine engagement where possible.
Re-evaluating my finances
Around this time last year, I started to get my finances back on track. I went from being in my overdraft by £1000 every month to not touching it at all! I was working to a personalised budget and making real headway in having a much healthier relationship with money (check out my post Boujee Budgeting to find out more)!
Fast forward and Miss Rona has affected my monthly income by around £1,800 a month. A MONTH!!! This has meant that financially, it has been a real struggle for me on top of everything else that’s been going on.
One of my biggest stress factors, and the one thing that can stop me from sleeping at night, is worrying about money. So I needed to take action to try and regain some control.
I looked at my outgoings again and decided to consolidate all of my repayments for loans, credit cards, and store accounts. Having one cheaper monthly repayment took a massive weight off my mind.
I also started looking at things I could reduce the price of such as my mortgage repayments and my phone bill.
I’m also giving up wine during the week (wish me luck, ha!)! I’m probably spending up to £30 a week on wine and all it’s doing is helping me gain weight! The same goes for the takeaways! So now, I’m allowing myself 1 bottle of wine at the weekends and takeaways twice a month. If I ever get a craving for either and manage to overcome it, I’ll put the amount into one of my savings pots so I can watch that grow instead of my waistline!
I’m no longer stressing about money and my money mindset is improving thanks to Tori Gaynors ‘Worthy & Wealthy Academy’ that I recently enrolled in which is helping me to tackle some of my deep-rooted money issues.
Taking time to relax guilt-free!
How often have you sat down to watch something on Netflix and felt you should be cleaning the house, or working out at the gym, or working on your personal projects?
Trying to relax when all you can think about are the things you’re not doing can be an absolute mood-killer and takes away all the pleasure you hoped to get from doing fuck all!
So I’ve started allowing myself time and space to just ‘be’. Yes, there is always something else I ‘could’ be doing, but the benefit of giving yourself a break can be the catalyst to making everything else a lot easier!
Slowing down and just enjoying the moment can be where that inspired action takes form, or your body can take a moment for recovery.
It’s essential and just because life is not as hectic as it was, doesn’t mean that R&R is no longer on the menu!
Improving the quality of my sleep!
Sleeping through the night has become a bit of a myth for me recently! I struggle to fall asleep and then when I do, I wake up at obscene times and then proceed to toss and turn until the alarm eventually goes off!
I never feel truly rested and my energy levels have just depleted; especially now the seasons have changed and it’s permanently grey outside!
Something that’s always helped me get an incredible night’s sleep is using sleep meditation apps. I’d totally been neglecting these and started using them again in the last few weeks and can honestly say, my sleep has improved tenfold.
My personal favourites are by Mindifi but they seem to not agree with the latest iOS updates so I’m now using Calm and Simple Habit.
When I use meditation apps to fall asleep, I find that I fall asleep quicker and easier, and also I sleep a lot deeper so when I wake up, I feel like I’ve been asleep for a month!
These are some of the simple ways I’ve made changes to my lifestyle to improve my mindset. Essentially, now I feel more in control of my life, I feel like I’m the one in the driving seat again! Now I don’t feel like life is just happening to me, I can start to embrace it again, and try and find the good in every day!
Something Steven Bartlett mentioned in his recent episode of Diary of a CEO, is ‘learn to contrast in the right direction’. If we keep placing so much emphasis on our ‘old lives’ (contrasting up) we’ll always feel disappointed, however, if we feel blessed for all that we do have, the things that some people may be praying for every day (contrasting down), we’ll experience more gratitude which will essentially make our lives better anyway.
Yes – this situation is awful, but if we can look at the fact that we have our health, our families’ health, jobs, the ability to pay the bills, the internet, and a warm home, life could be a lot, lot worse.
So do what you can to enjoy this time, in whatever form that looks like right now, because the control is in your hands!
Sending lots of love,